ObamaCare: It's all about control
By Robert E. Moffit
Published: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
On health care, the president's pile of broken promises keeps getting higher. Consider this gem from Aug. 20, 2009: “Let's be clear about the fact that nobody has proposed anything close to a government takeover of health care.”
Well, yes, somebody did. President Obama is now well on his way to orchestrating the federal government's takeover of Americans' health care.
Commandeering the resources of major federal departments, particularly the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS, the administration and its allies in Congress have created numerous federal bureaus, commissions and programs and have issued thousands of pages of rules, regulations, guidelines and directives, all reinforced by unprecedented mandates and new taxes, fees, fines and penalties. Central planning and coercion holds this sprawling thing together.
Virtually all key health care decisions will be made by government officials. Not you. Not your employer. Not your insurance company.
Beginning Jan. 1, government officials will require you to buy a federally approved health plan or pay federal fines or tax penalties. They will define and redefine, at their pleasure, the content of your health benefits package, meaning the medical treatments and procedures you must have; the kind and level of preventive health care services you must have; the level of coverage you must have; the level of cost sharing, deductibles and co-payments that are acceptable — to them, not you.
Writing in the October 2010 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, Sara Rosenbaum, professor of law at George Washington University and a supporter of the law, perhaps best described ObamaCare's transformative effect on private insurance: “It will take on certain characteristics of a public utility.” In other words, private insurance will be “private” in name only.
You will get what government officials say you will get.
Because the statutory language is often vague, “experts” at HHS and the IRS are free to write detailed regulations that cover a multitude of thorny items, such as the definition of “quality care” or “value” in doctor- or hospital-care delivery. Of course, officials who make the rules can make exceptions to the rules, issuing waivers, or exemptions, or securing special treatment for favored groups. The most obnoxious example is the Office of Personnel Management's decision to give hefty taxpayer subsidies to members of Congress and congressional staff to offset their premium costs in the new health insurance exchanges next year. Those special subsidies are bereft of statutory authority.
Government officials will exercise more control over the flow of your health care dollars and subject you to mandates and penalties. Your personal freedom will be curtailed by those who claim to know what is best for you.
Meanwhile, the president and his allies will insist that what you are witnessing firsthand is not a “government takeover” of health care.
You can either believe them or your own eyes.
Robert Moffit is a senior fellow in the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Panthers free agent safety headed to Steelers
- Upper St. Clair man dies in crash of experimental airplane at Washington County Airport
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Ordinance requires Pittsburgh government to publish data online
- Greensburg man lending his expertise to new cable series ‘UFO Files’
- Mars Area board prepared to reject drilling proposal, president says
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case
- Memo confirms VA Pittsburgh officials knew of Legionella threat long before made public
- Jeannette dirt bike rider collides with car
- Top pitching prospect Taillon’s time with Pirates must wait a bit